Photo Credits: Photo credits IV

June 13, 2002: Issue 26

SIM STYLE: Do I use a comma or a slash to separate a photographer’s name from the studio name on credits?
Both. It is usually not SIM style to include both the photographer and the studio name, but there are some exceptions. In those cases some use a comma, and some use a slash. But they are not interchangeable. Follow the style on the credits list.
 correct: Steve Hall, Hedrich-Blessing
For more information, see the Credits section in the SIM Stylebook, or Issues 122063.

GRAMMAR: Is passive voice always wrong?
No. It’s true that using active voice usually keeps writing peppier, but that doesn’t mean the passive need always be avoided. The passive voice is sometimes a better choice if the person or thing doing the action can be inferred or is not of interest.
passive: Slate tiles were laid on the diagonal for visual interest.
active: Workers laid slate tiles on the diagonal for visual interest.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of emphasis. In the following sentence, rewriting to the active voice would take the focus off the subject, the pendants.
passive: The strikingly angular pendent lights were designed by an unknown French artisan.
active: An unknown French artisan designed the strikingly angular pendent lights.

Then, of course, there’s this classic example:
passive: The suspect was arrested at a local market.
active: Officer Lopez arrested the suspect at a local market.
Which matters more to you? The arrest, or who made it?

The bottom line: Stick with the active voice in most cases. But if it just doesn’t sound quite right, think about what you’re really telling the reader. If you’re struggling to make a sentence active, and the passive voice just sounds more natural, it’s probably the better choice.

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